The filigreed 2020 vintage generated some beautifully elegant wines among which this superb Kabinett by Weingut Günther Steinmetz.
The 2020 growing season was hot and dry and the harvest season mostly cloudy and rainy: The result is a unique vintage with incredible lightness, filigreed precision, subtlety, and a dash of ripeness.
Few wines epitomize these classic traits of Mosel Riesling as well as the amazing 2020er Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett by Günther Steinmetz.
Weingut Günther Steinmetz is not one born with a silver spoon in the mouth: It is one of these many honest Estates which, generation after generation, took on some small parcels here and inherited some others. Besides some parcels in the Brauneberger Juffer, most parcels were in less glamorous (but still very good) sites around Brauneberg.
In comes Stefan Steinmetz. He has an eye for good terroir. Read for yourself: He single-handedly brought the forgotten Wintricher Geierslay back on the map. He took on a steep-hill vineyard (still planted with 90-year-old vines), which had the bad fortune of being integrated into the mostly flat and non-saying Piesporter Treppchen in the course of the 1971 vineyard reform. Over the years, he added also parcels in more famous vineyards such as the Wintricher Ohligsberg, Piesporter Goldtröpfchen, Dhroner Hofberg, and Neumagener Rosengärtchen, always in prime sectors and mostly still planted with very old vines. His latest coup was to be able to get hold of a parcel in the coveted Wehlener Sonnenuhr (more on this later).
The Estate’s style also evolved over the years. Where it was producing some powerful beasts back in the 2000s, Stefan Steinmetz has engaged into a path of developing more focused and lighter wines over the years and thereby of revealing more the individual characteristics of each of his vineyards.
In recent years, he also started to focus more on his Kabinett wines: “Kabinett was not really a focus until recently. Wine lovers increasingly love this type of wine but it is not easy to make. One needs the right balance, not too high Oechsle degrees: All this means the right early harvest”
The result has been simply a breathtaking area of Kabinett wines in the 2020 vintage, above all a marvelous example from the Wehlener Sonnenuhr.
In 2019, Stefan Steinmetz was able to take on a small parcel in the coveted Wehlener Sonnenuhr. This parcel is situated higher up the hill and proved ideal in 2020 for a Kabinett: “The fact that the parcel is higher up the hill means that it will not develop as much Oechsle degrees as lower down the hill. This allows us to delay the harvest a little bit and find an optimum balance between freshness and physiological ripeness.”
The result has been phenomenal. The wine proves incredibly light-footed yet packed with sweet and racy flavors as well as these floral elements which have been the hallmark of the Wehlener Sonnenuhr since years.
All this is good but there is some bad news: Quantities are really tiny unfortunately. However, this wine is worth every effort to find it. Should this particular Kabinett not be available in your neck of the world, the other Kabinett made by this Estate in 2020 (it made five in total!) are thrilling in their own right!
The beautiful 2020 collection of Günther Steinmetz
was reviwed in the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 57 (July 2021).
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Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett
The 2020er Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett was made from fruit picked at 79° Oechsle and was fermented down to fruity-styled levels of residual sugar (49 g/l). It offers a still rather reduced nose made of smoke, wet stone, subtle aniseed herbs, a hint of pear, passion fruit, and grapefruit puree. The wine develops the subtle creaminess of a light Spätlese on the palate but retains a great sense of fruitiness packed into whipped cream in the long and mouthwatering finish. This wine cut along the lines of a great Auslese from the 1990s is a true winner! 2030-2050
© Text by Mosel Fine Wines "The Independent Review of Mosel Riesling ... and beyond!"
Disclaimer: Mosel Fine Wines is an independent publication and has no commercial relationship with any Estate, association or organization featured in this article.